Skip to main content

Fast-spreading wildfire near Bemidji was 'human-caused,' authorities say

The blaze prompted an evacuation and required fire-suppression help from an airplane.

A wildfire outside of Bemidji that forced nearby resident to evacuate and required suppression efforts from water-scooping airplanes was likely caused by a person.

The Radar Fire was first detected around 3 p.m. Tuesday in Eckles Township, about 5 miles northwest of Bemidji, according to Minnesota Incident Command System. "Extremely dry conditions" allowed it to spread, and as of Thursday afternoon the blaze measured about 60 acres and was 40% contained.

The fire prompted the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office to evacuate nearby homes Tuesday, with residents later able to safely return. The firefighting efforts were hampered by boaters on nearby Lake Bemidji getting in the way of planes attempting to pick up water. (You can see video of the plane here.)

On Wednesday, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office described the fire's start as "suspicious, and Thursday, Minnesota Incident Command System went a step further.

The wildfire, they said, was "human-caused," with multiple agencies investigating. They don't have any other details to share at this time, however. 

Related: Smoke from Canadian wildfires creating unhealthy air pollution levels in MN

They also warned about fire danger in the area, which is being exacerbated by "extremely dry conditions and a worsening drought."

Half the state is in a bout of "severe drought," with some pockets — including in Beltrami County, where the Radar wildfire burns — facing "extreme drought." And there are few signs of relief coming in the near future.

Minnesota Incident Command System said firefighters were patrolling along the eastern edge of the fire Thursday, with heavy equipment and ground crews working to put out hot spots on its west side.

Next Up

image

Hospital chiefs say nursing strike will come at 'worst possible time'

A nurses union announced an almost three-week strike to take place in the Twin Cities.

snow

Sven Sundgaard: What's in store for MN's weather in December?

Sundgaard recaps Minnesota's fall and looks ahead to December.

work-g674ba1702_1280

Manure spill in Wisconsin leads to hours-long main street disruption

The spill was first reported just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

IceCube

Ice Cube to perform 2 nights at Mystic Lake Casino

The rapper hasn't performed in Minnesota since 2018.

image

Nicollet Mall's new Ties Lounge & Rooftop closes 'indefinitely'

The establishment aimed to reconnect the downtown community.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.15.44 AM

Chinese restaurant closing after 50 years in Columbia Heights

The beloved family-owned restaurant will close Dec. 24.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.43.40 AM

Kris Laudien leaving KARE 11 after four years on 'Sunrise'

KARE 11 announced the appointment of Jason Hackett to the morning show this week.

covid

MN's COVID update for the week ending Tuesday, Nov. 29

There are now more than 570 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota.

MNAPresser12122

Twin Cities nurses to strike for 20 days starting Dec. 11

A strike in Duluth and Two Harbors doesn't have an end date set.

Related

eckles township - lake bemidji - wildfire

Fast-spreading wildfire near Bemidji is 'suspicious,' officials say

They're seeking the public's help to pinpoint a cause.

air tanker wildfire bemidji

Boaters getting in the way of firefighting planes in Bemidji

Several homes were evacuated due to the wildfire.

eckles township - lake bemidji - wildfire

Sheriff: Stop calling 911 about low-flying planes, they're putting out wildfires

Beltrami County has had issues with people in the Bemidji area complaining about firefighting planes this summer.

Travis Gunning, Rebecca Lockman

Charges detail deadly 'deal gone bad' near Bemidji

The May 3 incident involved robbery, homicide and arson.

MNICS - John Ek Fire - Aug 20

BWCAW closure extended into September amid wildfire danger

Existing fires grew and more fires have popped up.

fireworks

Fireworks causing fires in MN despite warnings of dry conditions

The DNR has prohibited "ALL fireworks" in Beltrami Co.

grass fire

High winds cause wildfire north of Duluth to spread

A red flag warning has been issued for southwestern Minnesota.

MNICS - Greenwood Fire Aug 17

MN wildfire swells again, now at 3,200 acres

The blaze is threatening cabins, homes, and recreational sites, officials said.